Evan J. Smith
March 1, 2009
Photos By: Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

While the roofline hasn't changed, the C-pillar has, along with the rear-quarter window. It is narrower and laid back to give the Mustang a hunkered-down appearance. Mustang for 2010 also wears smaller side-view mirrors and a reshaped tail. The aft section features sequential LED lights that are canted sharply and blend into a shapely multi-piece rear valance. There are a few rear spoiler options, one including a rear-view camera option, and under the gas filler door you will find Ford's convenient "capless" fuel fill system. This is a new technology that you're sure to love. The antenna has also been moved from front to rear.

"Aero and mpg is so important. We're looking to label it at one mpg over the outgoing car. We've designed a new underbody shield that extends from the front crossmember to rearward of the oil pan. On the GT, these improvements equal 23 percent less lift at high speeds. It's enough for the average customer to notice a difference," Randle adds.

Canted rear corners house the sequential LED taillights and give the car a shorter look, even though the overall length is unchanged.

Under The Hood (And Body)
Power enhancements begin with a dual-spark ignition strategy, which enables the engine to run powerfully and economically with a variety of fuel-octane types. Increasing cool air to the engine is important for power, so the team engineered a fresh-air inlet that draws efficiently from the grille. In addition, the rev limiter has been bumped to 6,500 rpm. The end result is 315 hp, 325 lb-ft of torque, and way more fun.

Owners will feel and hear the engine through the free-flowing exhaust and a new intake sound pipe that channels inlet air to a diaphragm that converts the sound waves into engine sound in the cabin. Randle says that Jaguar and Porsche use similar systems to provide a balanced sound profile. We foresee the aftermarket offering a multitude of diaphragms to alter the volume of the engine noise. Transmission choices are unchanged from previous models, as a five-speed manual and auto are offered.

The Three-Valve 4.6 engine produces 315 hp and revs to 6,500 rpm.

While some high-brow journalists, who wouldn't buy a Mustang for a dollar, clamor for an IRS, Ford knows the majority of its customers prefer the durability and simplicity of the current setup, so the trusty live-axle lives on.

Nevertheless, the Mustang GT now rides on stiffer springs, with improved dampers to match. Said suspension will produce flatter cornering, more responsive steering, and quicker turn-in, with no loss in ride quality. Other upgrades include a rear stabilizer bar and either 17- (BFG) or 18-inch (Pirelli) tires on the V-6, and 18- or 19-inch Pirelli tires on the GT. All Mustangs for 2010 will be equipped with ABS and AdvanceTrac electronic stability control. The V-6 offers the ability to deactivate the system. On the GT there are multiple settings including a sport mode that allows you to hang the tail out before the system kicks in. Look for a full drive report next month.

Performance minded buyers should opt for Ford's new Track Pack factory option that includes 3.73 gears (3.31 gears are standard, 3.55 gears are optional), performance-style front brake pads, 19-inch wheels and tires, and underhood strut-tower brace. According to Randle, Ford will also introduce the Track Pack 2, at a later date, which is likely to include unique suspension tuning with a 10-15mm drop in ride height, 3.73 performance ratio, performance pads at all four corners, and special 255/40/19-inch performance tires.

For extra power, approximately 400-415 hp on GT models, Ford engineers state that a dealer-installed and warranted Ford Racing Performance Parts supercharger will become available.

On The Inside
If the 2010 styling made you consider trading your '05-'09, then a look at the interior will seal the deal. Pop open the door and you'll be greeted by a new steering wheel and stylish one-piece instrument panel (IP) designed for improved ergonomics, as well as reduced squeaks and rattles.